Common Birds of India

Large Pied Wagtail.( Motacilla madaraspatensis.)


This month I have written about the Large Pied Wagtail, a very shy seldom seen bird even though it lives and thrives around urban areas also. 


Large Pied Wagtail.( Motacilla madaraspatensis.)



A black and white small bird about the size of less than a Myna, frequently found hopping around on grassy patches and on tiled roof tops in urban areas, flicking its tail, often mistaken for a Magpie Robin, is the Large Pied Wagtail. It is slightly larger and slender than a Magpie robin. It is a very shy bird and often takes to flight the moment one sees it. These are more frequently seen around lakes and streams often in pairs.


The male is Black and white with white under parts and tail borders. The female is a duller brown in color. There is prominent white eyebrow which the Magpie robin lacks.



These birds are distributed through out the country. These birds can be found foraging on grassy patches of land and among rocky deposits constantly hopping around flicking their tail, when noticed by humans flies away a short distance and resumes its activities of foraging frequently keeping a watch on our movements. These birds have a splendid vocabulary like the magpie robin with their own variations.  If closely observed, these birds calls are very specific for each message they are giving out to their kind.  A breeding pair communicates with various vocalizations and specific messages.


The nesting season is between March and September when there is an abundance of insect larvae. The nesting site varies according to the locality ranging from a " under a rock projection to among rafters of buildings". Their only specification is privacy and peaceful surrounding. The nest is cup shaped with lot of grass roots, sheep hair or cattle hair and dry mosses. Their other requirement for site selection is the closeness to water.


3 or 4 grayish brown or greenish white eggs with blotches or streaks of various brown hues are laid. Both the parents share all domestic chores. They are devout parents and raise the hatchlings enthusiastically and the fledglings can be found hanging around their parents begging for food even after a long time since they leave their nests.


A lovely bird which need all the privacy and space for its own life. Let us be considerate towards this fellow creature.



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